Boyfriend is gun-shy about marriage - Talk About Marriage
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post #1 of 60 (permalink) Old 08-26-2013, 02:00 PM Thread Starter
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Boyfriend is gun-shy about marriage

Hi All,

Boyfriend of 2 and 1/2 years is gun-shy about marriage because of his divorce. I am divorced also but would like to get married and build a life together. He doesn't think we need a contract, but says that just because he is gun-shy about marriage, it doesn't mean that he will never get married. We both already have children and do not want more children. To me, marriage is more than a contract, it's a feeling of commitment and building a life together as a family, and a promise to be together forever.

I was sad and hurt about his unwillingness to marry me. I feel as though he must not love me enough to do so. I've contemplated leaving him, and he knows that. He says that he loves me and would be heartbroken if I left him.

I've thought about it long and hard, and I figured out that the relationship that I have with my boyfriend is the best relationship I've ever had. We have a good time together almost always, and can talk issues through without arguments. I also figured out that I can't leave him because I love him too much. I've rationalized and thought through the marriage thing and realized that if he agrees to move-in together and buy a house together, and basically act like a family with me then my emotional need would be met. Marriage does not guarantee forever, and neither does buying a house together and living together, but at least my emotional need for a family-feeling and stability is met. There is also protection against having to go through divorce if it doesn't work out, and the financial downsides to divorce. It seems like a way to have one's cake and eat it too.

Even though I can rationalize about not needing marriage, I can't help but feel also that I'm settling for less by staying with him without the promise of marriage. Why can I not get over that feeling? Can someone help me with this?

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post #2 of 60 (permalink) Old 08-26-2013, 02:10 PM
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Boyfriend is gun-shy about marriage

I don't think I will ever play house again without the commitment.

I believe people treat property better if they own it vs if they are just renting.

I believe sometime the same applies in relationships.

If you are not invested its easier to leave when things get tough.

That's not okay with me.

I might date long term but I'm not going to shack up again.
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post #3 of 60 (permalink) Old 08-26-2013, 02:12 PM
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Re: Boyfriend is gun-shy about marriage

It sounds like marriage would mostly be symbolic for you. Almost any other practical benefit or right can be accomplished by other legal means, with a few exceptions (which may or may not matter depending on your individual circumstances).

We were indifferent to marriage, but it did allow me to obtain health insurance for her. We were concerned that marriage would ruin things for us, as we'd done so very well for so long without it. Fortunately, it did not change anything for us, but it was a risk.

Your choice should reflect what's most important to you. If you insist and he refuses, can you accept the consequences? If things go along as they are, unchanged, is that better or worse than the potential consequences if he refuses?
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post #4 of 60 (permalink) Old 08-26-2013, 03:17 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Boyfriend is gun-shy about marriage

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Originally Posted by Mavash. View Post
I don't think I will ever play house again without the commitment.

I believe people treat property better if they own it vs if they are just renting.

I believe sometime the same applies in relationships.

If you are not invested its easier to leave when things get tough.

That's not okay with me.

I might date long term but I'm not going to shack up again.
Can you elaborate about your experience with living together? What happened to cause you to never want to do it again?
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post #5 of 60 (permalink) Old 08-26-2013, 03:23 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Boyfriend is gun-shy about marriage

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It sounds like marriage would mostly be symbolic for you. Almost any other practical benefit or right can be accomplished by other legal means, with a few exceptions (which may or may not matter depending on your individual circumstances).

We were indifferent to marriage, but it did allow me to obtain health insurance for her. We were concerned that marriage would ruin things for us, as we'd done so very well for so long without it. Fortunately, it did not change anything for us, but it was a risk.

Your choice should reflect what's most important to you. If you insist and he refuses, can you accept the consequences? If things go along as they are, unchanged, is that better or worse than the potential consequences if he refuses?
[/I]

I feel like I am accepting the way things are and not insisting that we need to get married because I'm afraid to lose him.

I'm afraid to regret losing him. I love him very much.

I just don't know how to cope with the feeling that I'm settling for less than I want and the feeling that he doesn't love me enough.

I guess I can tolerate being sad about not getting married vs. losing him and being sad about that.

It's a hard position. Any advice?
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post #6 of 60 (permalink) Old 08-26-2013, 03:25 PM
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Re: Boyfriend is gun-shy about marriage

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Originally Posted by love238 View Post
[/I]

I feel like I am accepting the way things are and not insisting that we need to get married because I'm afraid to lose him.

I'm afraid to regret losing him. I love him very much.

I just don't know how to cope with the feeling that I'm settling for less than I want and the feeling that he doesn't love me enough.

I guess I can tolerate being sad about not getting married vs. losing him and being sad about that.

It's a hard position. Any advice?
Could you please list the things about marriage that will benefit you?
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post #7 of 60 (permalink) Old 08-26-2013, 03:27 PM
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Boyfriend is gun-shy about marriage

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Can you elaborate about your experience with living together? What happened to cause you to never want to do it again?
I did it three times when I was young. Somehow I always seemed to be on the short end of this deal. Financially, emotionally, spiritually. It was win/lose in their favor. Their needs got met but mine didnt.
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post #8 of 60 (permalink) Old 08-26-2013, 03:47 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Boyfriend is gun-shy about marriage

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Could you please list the things about marriage that will benefit you?
1. a promise to be together forever, grow old together, work together to build a home together, and a family together

2. a feeling of stability

3. a feeling of being loved so much that he wants to be with me forever and is willing to take the risks associated with that

4. none of the sadness that I feel when he mentions doing things in future without me

5. what his parents and my parents have: a lifelong partner to travel with and to lean on through the tough times and the good times
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post #9 of 60 (permalink) Old 08-26-2013, 04:09 PM
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Re: Boyfriend is gun-shy about marriage

Nowhere in all of this have you mentioned the children and what steps you have taken to ensure that blending families will go well.
You have only been together for 2.5 years and you want to live together and get married, you both have kids, the odds of you staying married are very low.

Second marriages have a higher chance of divorce than first, 75% or so. The main reason is the children, blending families is one of the most difficult family/relationship dynamics that people can face. The first thing to do would be to seek professional guidance on how to blend your two families.
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post #10 of 60 (permalink) Old 08-26-2013, 04:13 PM
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Re: Boyfriend is gun-shy about marriage

I think what makes his argument phony is that if it's just a piece of paper then why not get married, if it means that much to you? If it's just a silly contract then what's the problem? The issue is that without said contract he can keep one foot out the door. Not everyone feels this way about marriage and if you were both fine without it I'd say carry on, but you're not happy and you are settling. The whole bit about him being "heartbroken" reeks of a bit of manipulation as well, because if he's equally concerned for you he could tell you point blank that it's not on his horizon and if you need to look elsewhere that's ok, but instead he dangles it so he can continue what works for him with little thought of you. You have two choices: drop it and be happy with what you have, which I don't think you can do, or move on. Three years into my relationship with my hb ( we were both divorced and both had kids like you guys) I told him I wanted to be married and if he didn't i understood and would look elsewhere. I also told him I'd never bring it up again. Soon after that the marriage talk started because he knew if he continued to jerk it around I'd dump him, and I would have. Your bf likes the arrangement you have, but it doesn't mean enough to him to get married. That's his choice, so decide what you can live with.
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post #11 of 60 (permalink) Old 08-26-2013, 04:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by love238 View Post
1. a promise to be together forever, grow old together, work together to build a home together, and a family together

2. a feeling of stability

3. a feeling of being loved so much that he wants to be with me forever and is willing to take the risks associated with that

4. none of the sadness that I feel when he mentions doing things in future without me

5. what his parents and my parents have: a lifelong partner to travel with and to lean on through the tough times and the good times

Hon, of he talks about doing things in the future without you he doesn't see you as a life partner. He's not gun shy, he just doesn't want to marry you. Sorry.
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post #12 of 60 (permalink) Old 08-26-2013, 04:46 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Boyfriend is gun-shy about marriage

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I think what makes his argument phony is that if it's just a piece of paper then why not get married, if it means that much to you? If it's just a silly contract then what's the problem? The issue is that without said contract he can keep one foot out the door. Not everyone feels this way about marriage and if you were both fine without it I'd say carry on, but you're not happy and you are settling. The whole bit about him being "heartbroken" reeks of a bit of manipulation as well, because if he's equally concerned for you he could tell you point blank that it's not on his horizon and if you need to look elsewhere that's ok, but instead he dangles it so he can continue what works for him with little thought of you. You have two choices: drop it and be happy with what you have, which I don't think you can do, or move on. Three years into my relationship with my hb ( we were both divorced and both had kids like you guys) I told him I wanted to be married and if he didn't i understood and would look elsewhere. I also told him I'd never bring it up again. Soon after that the marriage talk started because he knew if he continued to jerk it around I'd dump him, and I would have. Your bf likes the arrangement you have, but it doesn't mean enough to him to get married. That's his choice, so decide what you can live with.
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He is a salesman so maybe he does know how to frame things to make a convincing argument.

I don't think I can find someone else that I love and get along with as much I do with him. The problem is that I don't want to leave him, but I know that I'm settling.

I feel bad for myself that I have a boyfriend who doesn't want to marry me.
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post #13 of 60 (permalink) Old 08-26-2013, 04:59 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Boyfriend is gun-shy about marriage

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Hon, of he talks about doing things in the future without you he doesn't see you as a life partner. He's not gun shy, he just doesn't want to marry you. Sorry.
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Maybe you're right. But, when I bring this topic up with him about how he sometimes talks about his plans for the future that do not include me, he says that he is planning to be with me for the long-term.

I just don't have the strength to leave him. Someone please talk some sense into me.

I do have guy friends who are in the same position with their girlfriends. They really do love their girlfriends but do not want to get married. When I talk to them, they tell me to understand it from the guy's point of view.

Actually, on paper, I'm a catch sort of, lol. I'm a successful lawyer with my own law firm. I'm 8 years younger than he is, and men find me attractive. I'm in shape, own my house, have two kids who are the best kids that I could ever ask for. They are sweet and smart and have never caused me any problems with teachers or at school. My kids love my boyfriend. He thinks that I'm one of the most logical women he's ever dated, lol, and that's why we get along. He is not in as great financial shape as I am in, has two kids, one of whom has mild autism, and one of whom graduated from high school but doesn't want to go to college or really apply himself.

He and I really get along, and we love each other and endlessly entertain each other because of our differences and commonalities. I learn a lot of things from him and his life experiences which are different from my upbringing. He is trustworthy and loyal and that is really hard to come by.
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post #14 of 60 (permalink) Old 08-26-2013, 05:03 PM
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Re: Boyfriend is gun-shy about marriage

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Maybe you're right. But, when I bring this topic up with him about how he sometimes talks about his plans for the future that do not include me, he says that he is planning to be with me for the long-term.

I just don't have the strength to leave him. Someone please talk some sense into me.

I do have guy friends who are in the same position with their girlfriends. They really do love their girlfriends but do not want to get married. When I talk to them, they tell me to understand it from the guy's point of view.

....
So what exactly is the man's point of view on this that they want you to understand?
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post #15 of 60 (permalink) Old 08-26-2013, 05:04 PM
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Re: Boyfriend is gun-shy about marriage

The two of you are living together, right?

Whose house do you live in?

Who pays the bills? What percentage do each of you pay?

What % of total income does each of you bring in?

How many children do each of you have and how old are they?

How much time do the children spend at your house?
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